Carolan sets his sights on World Cup success for Ireland U-20s
Despite a disappointing finish to their Six Nations campaign, Ireland head coach Nigel Carolan believes that his side will go into the World Rugby U-20 Championship with a realistic chance of winning the competition.
Ireland impressed by winning their opening two Six Nations games but fell to three consecutive defeats which punctured the momentum around a side that is littered with explosive backs. The Wolfpuppies open their tournament (which is being held in Italy) against Argentina next Tuesday before a mouthwatering clash with New Zealand and a final pool game against Scotland.
"Well I suppose if we didn't think we had a chance of winning the World Cup with this group of players, we'd be fairly short-sighted," Carolan enthused.
"But I think in terms of getting that outcome, you look at the pool that we have, we'll certainly have to take it one game at a time.
"The level of expectation was high after the first couple of games in the Six Nations but, as a group, we didn't deliver upon those expectations.
"There's players within the group who will, without a doubt, be playing for the national team in the not-too-distant future."
Ireland's quicksilver back-line were too often starved of possession during the Six Nations, which prompted the suggestion that Carolan may look to bring several fresh faces into his squad but he has resisted that temptation and instead brought in just two new players (Sean McNulty and Charlie Rock).
A trial process was held in the last couple of months, which included a 21-10 defeat to France last week. Despite the loss, Carolan is adamant that it was a worthwhile outing.
"We found that in the Six Nations, we can't coach everything. We can't coach all aspects of the technical detail that might be required. In the areas that we're falling down on, there's a lot of small margins."